Rural tourists satisfaction has a pivotal role in the development of sustainable rural tourism. As a method of identifying critical satisfaction factors, an importance and performance analysis (IPA) technique has attracted growing interest from academics due to it being able to deliver the importance and performance of a product’s attributes from the standpoint of customers. However, IPA is based on the presumption that a linear and symmetrical relationship exists between the performance and overall satisfaction, which has been criticized by many researchers due to its deviation from the facts. On measurement of importance, researchers have not reached an agreement on whether direct or indirect approach should be applied. To measure satisfaction more effectively, this study presents a revised IPA method that integrates IPA, conjoint analysis and importance grid analysis. Based on mathematical psychology and psychometrics theory, the conjoint analysis method can be used to analyze multi-attributes of various products and derive relative importance of attributes in customer satisfaction research. The importance grid analysis method has been applied to categorize attributes by many researchers. It can be used to measure the nonlinear relationship between the performance of attributes and overall satisfaction. In this paper, an empirical study on rural tourists’ satisfaction was undertaken using this integrated method. The results show that the integrated approach is more responsive to attribute performance, thus allowing for improvement of a certain target attribute in the customer satisfaction enhancement process.
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